Tag Archives: family

Friends giving 2016


This year as I sat down amongst eleven dear friends at our Friendsgiving table and I couldn’t help but think about the saying, “If you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” It’s so simplistic, yet holds such truth and so much beauty, especially during this holiday season.


When we all sat down together to dig into our delicious spread, we all went around the table and shared what we were thankful for. It was one of the best memories that will stay with us when we think back on this very dinner. Listening to each person express how truly thankful they were for friends like us, like those around the table, made anything else going on just melt away.









The American Thanksgiving of course is not celebrated here in Korea, but that doesn’t stop us from pillaging our local vegetable market for local goods to make it happen. Over the years we’ve learned the hard way that a big ol’ bird simply doesn’t fit in our tiny “easy bake oven”, so we improvised and purchase an already made Turkey (a deep-fried one at that!) plus we sous-vide extra turkey breast and baked a ham in our crockpot. To make all the sides work, we borrowed another small oven, giving us a total of three ovens to work with. Talk about handling the heat in the kitchen… whew! SO.MUCH.FOOD. In the end everything worked out perfectly! We were pleased with all of the meats being moist and flavorful, and it was by far quicker to purchase and sous vide! (Check out that carrot cake too! A friend of our’s had it made with little bumblebee on it! Swoon!!)

Speaking of turkey…. THIS little turkey had a teeny bit of her first Thanksgiving turkey too!




As always….we are very thankful for all of you too… for those that have stuck by us, reading, commenting, viewing our photos and virtually traveled all around the world with us. Thank you friends! Happy Thanksgiving from Korea!!


Special visit

The past few days have been a busy blur of copious amounts of good food and buzzing all around Korea like we were tourist again. This time the only difference was, we had bumblebee and Kelsey along for the ride!

Yes, Kelsey, this young woman has more depth, kindness, loyalty, boldness, grace, honesty and wisdom than I ever knew could exist in a person! Oh! And she’s family to boot!! Cousin Kelsey, you my dear are nothing short of amazing and we are SO happy you chose to come visit us again before starting your new exciting adventure on the East coast! We cannot wait to watch you go on to do big things!


What’s cooking?

We find ourselves together back here again at the end of the week. Can I get a Fri-YAY!?

While I know we observed MLK day and we had a shorten week compared to most, it just seemed to sort of drag on and on…what do you think? Perhaps it was the REALLY cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing as of late? Whatever the case, let’s get throw in another Fri-YAY! 😉

So what’s been cooking in your kitchen? Do share, we’d love to hear! In the meantime we will share just what’s been going on in ours…

Mr. B made a recipe from his grandparents cookbook dating back to 1949! Beef porcupines. Don’t worry there were no porcupines harmed in the making of the recipe haha! These little guys get their name from the way the rice pops out of the beef when they are done cooking.
Oh Lordy were they absolutely delicious! I know Mr. B made his grandpa proud that night!

^Google them!

Pizza night! Combination pizzas made with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust, 16-Ounce. Have you ever used any of the Bob’s Red Mill mixes? We’ve dabbled in quite a few and always end up pretty pleased.

We topped the pizza with mozzarella, tons of roasted veggies eggplant, yellow peppers, red peppers, red onions, mushrooms, homemade meatballs, cheese filled jalapeños and cracked an egg in the center because we’re crazy like that! Oh and a side of roasted jalapeños filled with melted cheese.

We even ventured into the land of homemade vegetable hummus too! (Hey it’s all about getting those veggies in, right?) Yeah…Green pea hummus to be exact. Pretty outstanding and will make many future appearances in this house. You can thank us for sharing later.


We whipped up vegetarian BBQ. It’s sort of old school family BBQ recipe we have from Ms. B’s grandmother, but with a modern twist of using veggie crumbles.

And of course we mentioned Iowa Girl Eats blog meal on our last post, grilled chicken with a barley-corn salad. Think of the taste of a BIG bread-less BLT (YUM!).

Alright folks, we will meet you back in our kitchen again soon!


South Korea: Lunar New Year!

새해 복 많이 받으세요, Happy Lunar New Year all!

It’s crazy to sit here and realize that this is our 4th and 5th Lunar New Year in Korea. Honestly, WHOA! Anywho I’m sure if you’ve been following along with our blog from the beginnings you know what Lunar New Year is all about. FOOD! Kidding… well kinda, sorta. It’s about family and being together, much like our own special holidays in the US. And FOOD.

So to celebrate Lunar New Year, why not get festive and gather up your friends and teach them how to easily make dumplings? Just remember two magic words, fill and fold and the rest will come into place for you. The great thing about dumplings is that you can be as basic, or crazy creative with the filling ingredients as you’d like and they will still be delicious. This time around we kept ours fairly simple, easy to follow and vegetarian.

Remember…Confucius say, “Man with one chopstick go hungry.”


^If you are in Korea these bamboo steamers and steamer liners are EASY to get a hold of. If you can’t find any liners, use some cabbage leaves and call it a day.

Easy Steamed Dumplings

About 15 shiitake mushrooms, or your favorite kind, sliced
1/2 of a small onion, sliced
EVOO- Extra virgin olive oil, used to drizzle
1 Cup shredded carrot
1 Cup shredded cabbage
3 Inch slices of fresh ginger, diced
3 Cloves garlic, diced
1/2 Cup of mixed yellow, red and green bell pepper, diced
1/2 Of a block of tofu, diced into small squares
1/4 Cup chopped scallions
4 Tsp soy sauce
4 Tsp hoisin sauce
2 packs of wonton wrappers
Salt & pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the mushrooms and onions onto a baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, checking for a nice golden brown coloring. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

After the mushrooms and onions have cooled, combine all of the dry ingredients and add in a pinch of salt. Add in the sauces and toss together.

You want to fill the wrapper with about a tablespoon scoop of the mixture. You will know if it is to full by the way it’s folding together for you. Take your finger, wet the outside edges of the wrapper with a bit of water and begin to pinch and fold edges completely closed, as shown on the wrapper instructions.

Place the dumplings inside and steamer for approximately 9-10 minutes, or until the wonton skins are soft.


Click, Ship & treat yourself!

Things Worth Sharing: Turkey

This little package of happiness arrived all the way from Turkey with love.

Turkish delights, Turkish tea, Turkish pottery, and  a Turkish coffeepot…

Oh my stars!

could anything be more magical?

I think not.

We love and miss you guys!

thank you, thank you!

Get settled in soon, you’ve got anxious visitors.


Uncle Tomato and Turkey

I know what you are thinking, first what in the world is on that menu? Doesn’t rice ball flying fish spawn sound delightful? Ha-Ha! Second, I’m not really seeing tomatoes, Uncles, or Turkey in these photos. Okay, maybe one tomato in that salad. Hmmm… You’re correct.

The restaurant that I enjoyed a dinner date at with my dear friend Mary is called, Uncle Tomato. The restaurant offers a decent sized menu and quaint atmosphere. You can order anything from pasta, pizza, steaks and salads. There was something for everyone and in Korea that sometimes is the challenge. We kept pondering why didn’t we go here before?

Unfortunately and fortunately Mary and her family are moving to Turkey in the next few days. Now the puzzle pieces are coming together. I say unfortunately because this woman has become a sister to me and the selfish thoughts of loosing her, her friendship, love and family all currently and conveniently within a quick stroll down the road, is going to break my heart. I say fortunately because TURKEY!!! Come onnnnn the food, travel, meditation lifestyle! I’m so there! Making my plans as we speak, of course after I was extended the invite 😉 (Thank you Mary and family!)

More fun and special moments shared….

Not only have I watched these two beautiful children grow, you have too! Can you believe how grown up the are already? It really puts time into perspective. Eek! I miss them already! Guess I better keep saving those coins for my Turkey trip to see them again soon!


Uncle Tomato
719, Jihaeng-dong 2F-#201, Pine Hans Bldg., Dongducheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Driving to the DMZ for Local Honey

As odd enough as this sounds, I spent my Saturday morning driving to the DMZ for local honey. Perhaps I should digress?

While Skyping with my grandparents one weekend morning we got on the topic of seasonal allergies. My grandpa specifically minds certain points during the Spring season and sought relief outside of the typical Claritin or other over the counter drug on the market. He found out that his gut wasn’t happy. Ha Ha! What does that mean? Well it means that he wasn’t getting the right kinds of bacterial into his stomach to fight off the bad ones. So the journey began….how does one make their gut happy he asked? I’m sure thinking of all the sugary goodness he treated it with. Surly those treats have to be making his gut happy, because he felt happy while savoring them in the evenings. Wrong…he found out that he needed to get some probiotic and live culture in his diet. The easiest form being yogurt. Next he needed to take bee pollen pills daily as well as find local honey. I know what you might be thinking and no local honey is not the mass-produced stuff that comes from the cute little bear on the shelf in your supermarket. Luckily my grandfather has found relief with his regiment.

While out to lunch one afternoon with some girlfriends we got on the topic of allergies and local honey. My friend stated that she suffered from allergies since moving to Korea but was able to find local honey. She asked if I wanted her to pick some up when she went on her next trip, I eagerly said yes! Best decision ever! I’ve used the honey in my tea, Greek yogurt and oatmeal. It’s sooo delicious and flavorful.

Fast forward to the week before Kelsey came to stay. While texting one evening she told me that she was suffering from allergies and it was driving her nuts. So of course the conversation about local honey occurred again. Kelsey stated she was absolutely willing to give it a go!

Saturday morning I picked Kelsey up from our local train station, she hopped into the car and I asked if she wanted to venture out to find the local honey? Kelsey stated eagerly yes! Isn’t it so gratifying to find a kindred spirit? With brief directions on my phone from my friend, we headed North on highway 3 towards the DMZ, North Korea. We drove for about 50 minutes one way passing more farms and brown fields than people. Even with the haze and gray sky, Kelsey stated that she enjoyed a different perspective of Korea and the feeling of being able to breath and not feel so crammed with people.

Eventually we made our way to the end of highway 3. Directly in front of us, two guards stood armed with rifles not allowing anyone to proceed North anymore on highway 3. The option was to turn left or right. We turned left then took the first right leading us to the Battle for White Horse Mountain memorial. We parked in the large parking lot and proceeded into the only building on the property that resembled a store. Once inside an older Korean woman greeted us and two South Korean soldiers were sitting at the table with three children chatting and eating. The back wall was covered in jars and bottles of honey and two small shelves with various local items. You could tell they were slightly intrigued that two American women were visiting and discussing the wall of honey.

I asked one of the soldiers if he could tell what the differences were in honey. The soldier so kindly offered us to taste the honey while explaining the differences. The dark-colored honey was from chestnuts and had a slightly bitter taste, the medium colored honey came from various local flowers and the clear colored honey came from a flower called pronounced “Akasha” here in Korea. I haven’t done any research yet to see what the comparable flower would be in the US.

We each purchased honey and said our many thanks. We then decided to walk up the hill towards the memorial structure and of course curious to see the view. You can find a bit-o-honey, I mean history about the memorial here.
(See the horse icon located on the upper left hand corner? That was our location)
We headed back home for lunch and some meandering around our neighborhood. I wanted to share some of the special places that I enjoy and thought she may too. While walking we were both excited to see that Spring was popping up in little places right before our eyes. We headed to the vegetable stand that we used to purchase produce almost weekly from, plus the guy that runs it is comical (He photo bombed almost all of the shots and threw up his kimchi finger pose in each photo). Of course our favorite coffee cafe as of late for potbingso, carrot cake, grapefruit tea and royal milk tea was on the list. Oh and the cute little greenhouse right down the street with all sorts of reasonably priced succulents and the sweetest owner too.
Having family nearby is absolutely is the bomb diggity… yep.. I just aged myself.


HA-HA! Wait…does anyone even use the term bomb diggity anymore?
How was your weekend?
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?
Do you take anything? Any tips, tricks, suggestions?

Where’s the Meat?

When I eat burgers not made with meat I often think back to my childhood and giggle. It was a summer month and I was with my dad vacationing on Nantucket Island visiting my aunt and uncle. My aunt’s sister’s husband prepared us all eggplant burgers. It was the first time that I had ever tried anything with the title burger not consisting of meat. I immediately fell in love with the burger and raved about it to my grandparents once we returned home from vacation. I proudly exclaimed, “I ate a burger, loved it and it wasn’t even made of meat!” I am sure at that point I confused my grandparents with my statement and had to elaborate. Nonetheless, I know whatever they kindly responded with at the time to appease me, they were thrilled that I was open to trying new things and loved my vegetables so much.

These days you cannot keep me away from my vegetables. I try to incorporate as many fresh ingredients into our meals at home during the work week. The weekend…yeahhh..those are more of our cheat nights. Hey! we all need our cheat days to keep sane.

After crazy days of work there isn’t anything more that I look forward to than cooking in our kitchen, just Mr. B and I. I love how creative we get never knowing what concoction we might whip up. I love the moments of when he gets excited to have me try a new sauce he’s made. It takes the edge off the day. Cooking together and being in the kitchen releases tension, worries and stressors that might be plaguing me at the moment. I often think of my in-laws home where everyone always gathers in the kitchen, always such a homey and welcoming environment.

Tonight’s meal I am sure you guessed revolves around a meatless burger, a portobello burger with swiss cheese and caramelized onions sided up nicely with oven roasted crinkle cut sweet potato french fries.

Portobello Swiss Cheese Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Source: Prevention Cookbook


2 Tsp. olive oil
1 Medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 Portobello mushroom caps
⅛ Tsp. salt
¼ Tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 Slices Swiss cheese, for each mushroom
4 Buns of choice


In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tsp. of oil. Add onion and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, combine vinegar and remaining oil. Brush over mushroom caps and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, turning occasionally, about 9-11 minutes or until tender. Top each mushroom with slice of cheese and continue to grill about 1-2 minutes or until cheese melts. Transfer to plate and keep warm.

Top off bun with 1 mushroom and caramelized onions. Repeat for dinner guest and eat!


Buñelos Dagu

Fried yam donuts, or also known as Buñelos Dagu by the Chamoru people of Guam.

We Bee’s had the opportunity to feast on some dagu while enjoying ourselves at a typical Chamoru family celebration with our friends. As I got to watch the mixture drop into the oil, I was told that Dagu is served at Christmas time because the yams are harvested during that season. Lucky for us… we made it just in time!

Talk about island hospitality! This was the very first time we met this group through our friends, we were instantly greeted with kisses on both cheeks, handed adult beverages and pointed in the direction of the mounds of delicious foods. Maybe it was the warm tropical island breeze? Or, maybe It felt a lot like home…Whatever it was, I know we both equally relished the warmth and generosity of this family.

Under the crystal clear moonlight sky we listened and swayed to festive music, were intrigued by the families telling folk tales of taotaomonas and duendes (Google it! interesting island superstitions), watched children run and play as most of their fathers were losing their hands time and time again at Texas Hold’em card game.

Buñelos Dagu recipe here

Let me know what you think! Oh! Don’t forget maple syrup or simple syrup too!

(You’re welcome!)



Are you a nibbler? Okay, let me further explain. I am talking nibbler in the sense of, when you are cooking in the kitchen you are nibbling along the way. It might be that perfectly ripe tomato, that just out of the oven bread loaf, or even a teeny swoop of that freshly whipped cream you made. So, with that said, do you consider yourself a nibbler?

Truth, I’m a nibbler. Yes, I admit I am guilty of nibbling along the way of my meal preparation. I always wondered if it was a hereditary thing. You know if your mother, or your grandmother, or your great-grandmother did it, you too picked up on the habit and were doomed to become a nibbler. Thinking back it makes sense to me now. There were times when I was a child where I remember my mother or grandmother cooking and preparing a nice meal only to eat a teeny if any bit. Why? Because she had to be a nibbler! HA HA! I’m not totally sure that is the case, but its my conclusion and I am sticking to it.

The weeks have been lengthy and I have found myself running against the clock. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to catch up from when I was away in Cambodia. I have been struggling to find that even balance with housework, me time, being a good spouse and loving wife, to being a good employee and team member, to being a great best-friend and equally great sister and daughter as well. Whoever said being a million miles away from family made it easier had to be joking. It’s not easy! Oh and throw in a little drama from our neighbors to the North on top of it all. Oy vay. Suggestions on being able to find balance again are greatly welcomed. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and wisdom.

Do I have you scratching your head wondering what the correlation and connection between being a nibbler, playing catch up, and being superwoman is? The connection is that I am finally able to sit down and post a blog post and communicate to the masses that we are A-Okay over here. Really! Well, in this moment that is. I mean, would I be using my downtime to focus so much emphasis on focus on cooking healthy meals for the hubs and I? Not to mention baking my grandmothers strawberry pie complete with her homemade pie crust too! We are talking PIE here…serious stuff (recipe to come soon).

Oooohhh…Speaking of healthier dinner options, I’ve got a treat for you! How does sweet potato black bean burgers sound? (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Recipe slightly adapted from Healthy. Happy. Life. 100% Vegan lunchboxbrunch.com
makes 9-10 medium patties


2 Cans black beans, drained
3 Medium/large sweet potato, already baked, peeled, and mashed
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tsp honey
2 Tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 Cup wheat flour
A few dashes of black pepper
*I don’t typically season with salt, but you can certainly add if you need to.
2-3 Cups of Panko crumbs
1-2 Tbsp Safflower oil for frying pan

(Optional)Burger toppings: avocado, Dijon mustard, onion


1. Take your already baked sweet potatoes. Peel off the skin, set aside in large mixing bowl.
2. Add drained black beans to sweet potatoes. Mash the beans and potato together. You may need to use your hands and mixer to get the beans and potato to the right consistency.
3. Toss and mash in the lemon pepper seasoning, cayenne pepper, black pepper, flour, Tahini, and honey. Your mixture will be quite soft and tacky. No worries, you will be able to form the burger patty.
4. Heat up the 1-2 Tbsp safflower oil in a pan over high heat.
5. Form the burger patties from mixture and coat in Panko crumbs. Cook until burger is browned on both sides.
6. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel. Cool for a few minutes.

*As noted on the original recipe, the patties may crumble a bit while you are eating. However they are still absolutely delicious and that factor will make up for it in itself. Enjoy!